The end of an era is upon us, as Internet Explorer is finally retired after more than 26 years of service, good and bad.

Announced last year, Internet Explorer's official June 15, 2022 retirement comes 26 years and 10 months (9801 days, to be exact) after its August 15, 1995 release date, when the Internet audience was in his infancy. .

Almost from the beginning, it sparked controversy. After the release of Windows 95 (also in August 1995), Microsoft Internet Explorer began to be associated with OEM versions of the operating system.

This meant that if you bought a new computer at a time when everyone bought a new computer, you almost certainly started it with a copy of Microsoft's web browser already installed and set as the default program for interacting with the Internet.

This, of course, is what got Microsoft in trouble with the US government bringing a successful antitrust action against the company (US v Microsoft) that ultimately forced Microsoft to allow OEMs to install browsers. website of your choice on the machines. they sent

However, this strategy was successful, and by the turn of the millennium, if you weren't using a legacy intermediary like AOL, Internet Explorer was how almost everyone got on the Internet, and there was no telling how that could change.

Microsoft Internet Explorer loses its edge


(Image credit: Mozilla)

Internet Explorer 6 was released in 2001 at the time of the final settlement of the Microsoft antitrust case, and did not receive a major feature update for several critical years thereafter.

Internet Explorer was then the world's dominant web browser, so Microsoft probably thought it could rest on its laurels as well. This turned out to be significant for two reasons: ActiveX controls and Mozilla Firefox.

ActiveX controls were a feature of Internet Explorer since 1996 that allowed web pages to include executable code in their HTML that would run on client-side machines (ie, your computer) without user intervention. While this arguably made the Internet a richer experience than mere web pages could produce, it also turned into a security nightmare almost immediately, and Internet Explorer was never able to get rid of it.

Then, in 2004, Mozilla Firefox was released, one of the first big open source projects on the Internet, offering tabbed web browsing, extension support, and no ActiveX control vulnerabilities. While users flocked to Firefox and, a few years later, to Google Chrome, Internet Explorer offered few updates until 2007, with Internet Explorer 7, but by then it was almost over. Firefox, and then Chrome, would eventually eclipse Internet Explorer and reduce its once-dominant market share to unthinkable lows from which it never recovered.

Microsoft Internet Explorer is about to retire

internet browser

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Back in 2015, when Microsoft released the new Microsoft Edge browser, it almost begged Internet Explorer customers to switch, especially those still using Windows XP with Internet Explorer 6, which were mostly businesses and institutions, though it is riddled with vulnerabilities. that cannot be patched. in the modern and evolving Internet.

Finally, after announcing that it would end support for Windows XP due to reluctance to move forward, Microsoft announced last year that it would also drop Internet Explorer.

That time has finally come. Currently, Internet Explorer, once the almighty ruler of the Internet, is no longer supported by most operating systems, with very limited extended security updates for some services. The company has extended support agreements that Microsoft is bound by. contract to fulfill. But even those will be finished by the end of 2023.

It's done. It's over. You don't have to go to Edge, but stick with Internet Explorer at your own risk.

Although not all were bad times

Xbox Live executive Marc Whitten introduces Internet Explorer for Xbox during the Microsoft Xbox press conference at Electronic Entertainment Expo

(Image credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Internet Explorer deserved the reputation it earned for its security vulnerabilities. You could click on a URL on a Something Awful forum in the early 2000s and have your computer completely crashed, or worse, by someone who delighted in watching the world's computers burn.

Besides Adobe Flash, there is nothing on your computer that you should avoid more than Internet Explorer. It was unnecessarily lax with security, something Internet security professionals were yelling about at Redmond Void before Internet security professionals were really a thing.

Microsoft should have known better, but they went ahead with a web browser that literally allowed someone else to install and run a program on their computer with just one careless click on a web page and forced hundreds of millions of people to use it. There's no denying that this was an atrocity of a program, and even Microsoft is happy to get rid of it.

But, for a while, Internet Explorer was all there really was, and coming from the Internet's first walled garden, America Online, using Internet Explorer was like leaving my parents' house for the first time when I was in college.

There were a lot of dangers I could encounter and a lot of trouble I narrowly avoided, and even got into, because I was stupid. But it was also the best moment of many of our lives, when life was full of possibilities and we thought we were immortal.

Internet Explorer is where many of us first discovered that we could find anything, and I mean anything, on the Internet. From Ebaums World to CD key cracking sites and the vast world of emulators. Are game emulators illegal? Of course, we didn't care. The entirety of the Internet was open to me in all its glory, but often unpleasant.

There are things I've done with Internet Explorer that I'd pass up if I saw someone doing it today, even with a secure browser like Edge, Chrome, or Safari. We were all overseas Internet naive back then and Internet Explorer was created at a time when the Internet was truly a frontier.

Those days are over, and so is Internet Explorer. It was the digital version of riding down I-35 in Texas with my friends in someone's truck bed to where underage college kids drank beer. I am grateful to have survived both experiences safely. I would never do any of that again, but that doesn't mean it wasn't hell.

LaComparacion sounds in Internet Explorer

An Internet Explorer page running on Windows RT

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Everyone at TechRadar has an opinion on Internet Explorer, whether it's its first browser in the 1990s or the browser that turned entire home computers into digital petri dishes for malware. I asked the team what they thought about the end of Internet Explorer and, for better or worse, it raised a lot of emotions in almost everyone.

"I remember taking my crash course on the internet with my tech dad in the late '90s and early '2000s and one of the first things I did outside of his advice was look up games," said Josephine Watson, Associate Editor at TechRadar. "Bejeweled, Neopets, Miniclip and Runescape have become my best friends in the absence of real friends."

As fond as that memory was, it wasn't all Neopets and the sun. " MUCH. OF. VIRUS. Watson added. “Any other site would somehow download a Trojan on my computer. Or I did. I can not remember".

"I don't remember too many problems, but then again, they had just invented the internet when I started and being able to download an image, or an MP3 at 4kb/s, was just a dream for me," TechRadar said. Global Editor, Gareth Beavis.

"I still have a great nostalgia for the gray icons and the bulk refresh button, although when I switched to Firefox I felt like I left school and entered a rogue zone," added Beavis.

Internet Explorer also has its defenders, such as Désiré Athow, editor-in-chief of TechRadar Pro.

"It was down the rabbit hole that allowed me to explore a world that was previously unknown to me, learn more about the 'information highway,' and hang out with friends in internet cafes where we rent computers by the hour," Athow said.

"Internet Explorer's shortcomings shouldn't obscure the fact that it was a great springboard for newcomers to the web," he added. "It's a shame Microsoft hasn't embraced it like Google did with Chrome."

“I was in college when the University of Illinois launched NCSA Mosaic, a great hub for the Archie and Veronica services available in the school library (check it out kids!) and the Fetch app we all use to hack software In Internet. «Confesses Jeremy Kaplan, director of content at LaComparacion. “So my mom bought a new computer and I convinced her that she needed to buy this new program called Netscape Navigator. . A boxed version, for €49.99…was the only way to get such a big program at the time.”

“When Internet Explorer came out,” Kaplan said, “it also seemed like an app to me. Microsoft constantly refined and improved it, and interestingly enough began to offer 'Internet Extensions' for people to use their browser.

“On the one hand, it made sense to offer this application only with a computer; after all, we had to buy apps before that," added Kaplan. “But it was weird and it really split the market. Later lawsuits, IE still felt a bit tainted, a bit corporate, a bit me too. I had no edge. I stuck with Netscape, picked up Chrome when Google released it, and never looked back."